The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world as we know it. From how people shop for groceries to how businesses run, the pandemic has forced people to adapt in the smallest and largest ways. The cleaning and janitorial industry are no different. Since sanitation and hygiene are two of the most important measures against the virus, cleanliness has become all the more crucial.
So how exactly has COVID-19 changed the janitorial industry? Here are some of the most notable ways that the industry has adapted to the more intense standards required in fighting the virus:
The proliferation of professional cleaning services
There is only so much that businesses can do by themselves to ensure that their establishment is as safe from the virus as it can be. While most businesses follow the recommended sanitation practices from government agencies, they may not be enough to protect the safety of clients and employees.
This is where professional cleaning services come in. Professional cleaning companies use more efficient methods to improve sanitation as much as possible; most utilize stronger cleaning agents and professional cleaning equipment that most businesses do not have. That said, they can clean facilities more thoroughly than in-house janitorial services could, providing businesses better protection against the virus.
For example, commercial cleaning companies provide a level of deep cleaning that on-site maintenance cannot. Compared to basic cleaning, this level of professional cleaning is more efficient, thorough, and inherently more effective.
More frequent cleaning
Before the pandemic, businesses had to clean only once or twice a day (or sometimes only a few times a week). But with COVID-19, cleaning more frequently has become a standard, especially for rooms or areas that encounter the most traffic. Now, it is not unusual to see janitorial services cleaning multiple times a day, sometimes even once every hour.
While this practice is inherently tedious, it is an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus on the job site. Furthermore, cleaning more frequently prevents contagious illnesses other than COVID-19, such as the common cold and influenza.
Use of EPA-approved disinfectants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of specific products that can kill COVID-19 when used according to their label instructions. These products are also effective against other types of infectious diseases that tend to linger on surfaces. Cleaning companies and janitorial services have long since taken up these products when disinfecting job sites to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other contagious illnesses.
Frequent cleaning of high-touch areas
One of the most common modes of virus transmission is indirect contact, wherein a healthy person contracts the virus by coming into contact with an infected surface or object. For this reason, the janitorial industry has put more emphasis on cleaning high-touch areas, which tend to have more germs than other objects or surfaces.
High-touch areas include elevator buttons, light switches, keyboards, handrails, doorknobs, and computer mice.
Increased concern for sustainability
Unfortunately, maintaining cleanliness and proper sanitation poses a negative impact on the environment. With more frequent cleaning and stricter sanitation standards, the janitorial industry has been using more masks, cleaning products, disposable gloves, and disinfectant wipes more than ever. As a response, facilities have adopted more environmentally friendly ways to prevent transmissions, such as using eco-friendlier cleaning products, tools, and hand soaps.
Higher recognition and respect for custodians
One of the most positive aspects of the pandemic is the higher regard for cleaning staff, especially in healthcare facilities where janitorial personnel are constantly exposed to the virus. More people now see cleaning staff as essential workers and even heroes during this difficult time, which would, hopefully, result in better pay, education, tools, and opportunities for them now and in the future.
Since the virus is also airborne, the CDC recommends prioritizing proper ventilation, especially when cleaning. There is a higher chance of airborne droplets leaving the room with proper ventilation than being inhaled by people in the vicinity (or the next person who uses the room). Furthermore, janitorial workers also have a lower risk of exposing themselves to the virus and harmful fumes coming from cleaning chemicals.
All things considered, the janitorial sector plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in all sorts of job sites. With many of these improvements in cleaning and sanitation standards, the janitorial industry not only helps flatten the pandemic curve—it also lowers people’s exposure to other types of contagious illnesses as well.